NOAA Transitions to the Cloud

By Doug Krueger

Originally posted on Federal Blue Print

In response to the Office of Management and Budget’s directive that all agencies must move at least three services to the cloud by May 2012, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has officially completed its transition to a cloud-based Google email system.

As the largest agency to officially host its email in the cloud, NOAA is playing a major role in helping the federal government reach its goal of saving $5 billion annually by transferring nearly one-forth of its all government IT to the cloud. This move also reinforces that government agencies are very serious about embracing the cloud.

While Google has obtained Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) certification and accreditation for Google Apps, this news still underscores that cloud security should not be overlooked. And, when it comes to areas of government that require the highest levels of security (i.e., Defense and Intelligence), we have spoken with many government and military executives who have voiced some serious security concerns about the cloud.

This is not to say that the federal government is not taking serious steps to address cloud security. Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel recently spoke at an Association for Federal Information Resources Management event and discussed FedRAMP, which is the new federal cloud security guidance. I believe FedRAMP is an ideal initiative that will better bring in members of industry to help develop secure and effective cloud solutions.

Kudos to NOAA for taking steps to meet these new OMB cloud computing requirements. As we see more agencies embracing these types of solutions, many people will be touting the cost-savings of moving to the cloud. Saving money is very important, but let’s not forget about security.

Doug Krueger is Vice President of Federal Sales for Blue Coat Systems. He blogs regularly on Blue Coat Federal’s Blue Print blog or you can connect with him on GovWin or LinkedIn.

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